“At least I’m sober.” I find myself thinking that so often lately–and in a natural way, not a forced-gratitude one. For instance, I’ve got the flu right now (don’t be like me and forget, people–go get your flu shots!) and feel pretty wiped out. But in the midst of a self-pity moment today I thought ‘well, at least I’m sober and won’t drink on top of being sick and feel even worse tomorrow.’ And last weekend, feeling wobbly and vulnerable after bad sleep and nightmares (and, it turned out, the first symptoms of flu): ‘well, at least I’m sober and don’t have a hangover and guilt about the hangover to deal with too. It was just a bad night’s sleep.’
And what’s really amazing is that this is starting to happen in situations where 200 days ago the idea of sobriety would have seemed like a massive challenge at best, if not a flat-out negative. A few examples:
- My sister, who for the sake of my own wellness I am not in contact with, emailed for the first time in over a year, suggesting that we should be ‘close’ again. ‘At least I’m sober and I know that even though I’m feeling anxious and angry, I won’t write something dramatic that I’ll later regret saying to her, even though I know any response (or no response) will likely provoke her anger just the same.’
- My husband and I are flying east tomorrow to visit my parents, with whom I have an ambivalent relationship, because my mother’s health has taken a serious nose dive and my father wants to make sure I’m well-briefed on all details of their estate and end-of-life wishes. Fun! “Well, at least I’m sober and will be able to process things in my own time versus drowning all my feelings in alcohol.” (My God, who said that? Was it me?)
- Jitters over upcoming interviews for a role in my company that I think I really want: “Well, even if I’m nervous at least I’m sober and don’t have to worry about drinking too much the night before and going through a whole day of interviews hung over and feeling ashamed.”
It’s just astonishing to me that sobriety has begun to seem not just like a healthier path through difficult situations, but a happier one, too. Who would have thought? Fantastic.